Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman


Obama Had The Dalai Lama’s Scarf In His Pocket During His Swearing In

posted by swaldman

Lama Surya Das passed on this fascinating bit. Richard Blum, who is the husband of California Senator Diane Feinstein, also happens to be a major supporter of Buddhism. He was up on the platform during the swearing in.
Beforehand, he told Barack Obama that he had with him a white khata — a silk Tibetan scarf — given him by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Blum described what happened next in a letter to an associate of the Dalai Lama:

“I offered it to President Obama before the ceremony. I said that I could get it delivered to him later. He said, no, that he was going to take it and have it with him; in fact, it was in his pocket when he was sworn-in.”

What’s the significance? Lama Surya Das, one of the nation’s leading Buddhist monks/teachers, explains:

“The meaningful symbolic gesture of our youthful new president keeping
the Dalai Lama’s blessing scarf in his pocket during the inaugeration
certainly augurs good things for Obama, for us and for the country and the
world, in its way, however great or small; but I think it’s we ourselves
who have to help the new president and his team of allies, give of our best
to the collective good right now in these troubled times, and not wait for
someone else or perhaps divine intercession to do it for us. I like to
remember the old Middle Eastern saying: ‘Trust in Allah but tie up your camel.’”



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Tim Dunn

posted January 23, 2009 at 6:51 pm


The Dali Lama is a proven force for peace, love, and compassion, and I believe that President Obama will prove to be so, as well. We are all the richer for their inspiration and service. I prostrate myself 9 times 9 in gratitude. May the Chinese government come to realize that the Dali Lama’s hand is offered to them in friendship and that he is no threat to the Chinese people, nor to anyone, anywhere.



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Edith

posted January 24, 2009 at 3:26 pm


I voted for Obama becauase if belived that he will be a GREAT President; however, on reading that he had the Dali Lama’s scarf in his pocket dring the innaugration increases my opinion of him ten fold and I now know that he won’t just be a GREAT one but will be a FANTASTIC one…..Edith



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Your Name

posted January 25, 2009 at 3:58 pm


Fantastic! it lift my inspiration knowing that he has a scarf in his pocket blessed by His Holiness The Dalai lama. Being a Tibetan myself, it gave me a hope that he will stand by the ethic and morals of the democratic values and fight for the rights of the oppressed people and the freedom of the religion. I Hope he will deal with chinese leader more aggresively in finding a solution to end the Tibetan problem and join the members of the civilised 21st century nation.



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non-metaphysical stephen

posted January 25, 2009 at 8:44 pm


My first reaction to this was: I know the scarf was symbolic, but it would have made perfect sense if Pres. Obama had WORN it during the ceremony to keep off the cold!
Honestly, why were so few people at the ceremony wearing scarves to protect their necks?



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Your Name

posted January 25, 2009 at 10:23 pm


What a wonderful gift that Richard Blum would give President Obama his khata. This a precious gesture. Given time, President Obama will do much to create peace in our world. His recognition of all people is inspiring and motivating to many, many people across the globe and with that we can and will do much to make this a better world.



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clasqm

posted January 26, 2009 at 2:29 am


non-metaphysical stephen: The “scarves” used as ceremonial objects by Tibetan Buddhists are quite thin and wouldn’t contribute much to keeping the presidential throat warm.



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Ruth

posted January 26, 2009 at 11:27 am


The Center for Public Integrity has reported that Blum and his wife, Senator Dianne Feinstein, are making millions of dollars from Iraq and Afghanistan contracts through his company, Perini. He is not a real budhist , a buddhist doesn’t make money off someone elses miseries !!



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Ruth

posted January 26, 2009 at 11:32 am


The Center for Public Integrity has reported that Blum and his wife, Senator Dianne Feinstein, are making millions of dollars from Iraq and Afghanistan contracts through his company, Perini.



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metaphysical stephanie

posted January 26, 2009 at 12:04 pm


UGH! A perfect example of “How low they can go.” Is nothing sacred?The husband of Dianne Feinstein is the last person on earth who should be in possession of the Dalai lama’s scarf. It would be funny if it was not such a sad example of the way things are going (and what money can buy.) Such a perversion of all that the Dalai lama stands for!



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vicki

posted January 26, 2009 at 3:45 pm


Whoever gave the Dalai Lama’s Kata to Obama does not detract from the auspiciousness of Obama’s accepting it and wearing it. For the Giver it may have been a publicity stunt which will just add some more black beans to his bad karma jar, but for the Taker, it is a blessing. The Taker is a man of honesty and integrity. In his pocket the kata will work its magic. This I believe.



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Joel

posted January 27, 2009 at 7:07 pm


Thanks Vicki. You are right, and have given me a gift through your comment.



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Your Name

posted January 28, 2009 at 9:40 am


It’s my belief that if anyone points fingers and claims someone is not a “real Buddhist” is speaking from ignorance. Judgement of others is the antithesis of the teachings. One of my favorite stories of Lord Buddha is as follows: A monk saw another monk breaking a vow. He went to Lord Buddha to tell on him. Lord Buddha stated,”I came up with the vows for YOU.” Or, as our culture understands, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” I feel what happened with the kata was beautiful.



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Brot

posted January 28, 2009 at 10:19 am


As Chairman of the American Himalayan Foundation, Richard Blum has directly and generously assisted hundreds of projects and worthy, needy and dedicated individuals across the Himalaya. AHF’s carefully vetted work focuses on helping Tibetans within Tibet and in poor refugee committees outside of Tibet — old folks’ homes, schools, agriculture, etc. In this context, if one were to suggest that Blum shouldn’t have a kata from HHDL, perhaps they should suggest the same about some celebrities and others who happen to have been able to gain access to the Dalai Lama.



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Steve Nash

posted February 1, 2009 at 11:44 pm

Brian

posted February 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm


I think that Obama is a very inclusive president. His wife wore a dress made by a Cuban-American designer during the inauguration, and also a dress made by an Asian-American designer. Both of these designers were foreign born. So for Obama to have a Tibetan blessing scarf in his pocket during his inauguration makes his inauguration even more inclusive than it would otherwise have been. Of course, it could also be construed the wrong way by the Chinese, politically that is. But I doubt it.



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posted August 27, 2010 at 7:25 am

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I don’t see anything wrong with President Obama’s gesture with the scarf.. It can’t be taken as he supports Buddhism but rather he respects it.



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You know I don’t see anything wrong if Obama had The Dalai Lama’s Scarf in his pocket. It doesn’t suggest anything but respect to another leader with a different belief and culture.



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